Coco in the show jumping at Aldon CIC*
Well the eventing season is now officially over! I am already counting down the days until next season starts, and of course I have the Jumping And Style series to look forward to as a fantastic warm up for the season.
This season has been my best season to date, by far. With two affiliated eventing wins, Punch in the BE100 at Tweseldown and Lily in the BE90 at Berkshire College of Agriculture. I also had an unaffiliated win on Lily in the BE90 at Borde Hill. I have never won an event until this year, so not a bad run at all. However I have also fallen off more this year than the last 5 years put together (thank you Lily!!) We had whipping round on the gallops - fall 1 by 10 am on New Years Day!! I fell off when Lily had a bucking fit and whipped round in all the snow. I then fell off at Larkhill when she took a sudden dislike to fence 4, and then fell off her again when she had a massive bucking fit at a pairs hunter trial!! However she has since decided that it is much easier if she just keeps me on board, which is greatly appreciated! So this seasons affiliated total is; Completed - 20, Wins - 2, Placing (2nd-10th) - 11, Badminton Grassroots Qualification - 1, Novice Regional Final Qualification - 1! What this proves is that I am very lucky to have some lovely lovely horses and a great support team, however I will sum them up at the end (saving the best till last!!)
So my last event of the season was the CIC* at Aldon with Coco. It was the longest one day event I have ever done with dressage on Friday, show jumping on Saturday and cross country on Sunday! But this also meant it was an exciting event to finish with. My dressage was 3.36 on Friday so we decided that we would be best to leave on Friday morning. The traffic was good and we got there with plenty of time to spare. Including popping over to the vets to get Coco all checked in. It all was going smoothly until they asked for Coco's name. I laughed and replied with 'Sjapo Le Sursaut' and proceeded to have to spell it out, and that wasn't the only time!
We gave ourselves plenty of time to get ready for the dressage and to get Coco looking handsome, which doesn't take too much, he is such a poser! Then it was time to get on, and I left myself enough time to get him really loosened of as he takes a while to work in, especially after a three hour journey. But he worked in beautifully and before I knew it I was trotting round the edge ready to go. He performed a really lovely flowing test, I kept it really accurate and bar a couple of small mistakes was a very good effort, and probably one of the best tests I have ridden on him! Apparently the judges agreed giving us a score of 45.6 which was enough to put us in 4th place overnight with just under 20 tests to go the next morning. After getting Coco all sorted we went and walked the course for the first time. It was tough enough but the questions all seemed do able and I couldn't wait to get out there! See Coco's dressage HERE
The Saturday morning was very civilised, mum and I sat in the rugby club overlooking the CIC* arena eating a full english breakfast and watching the rest of my class do their tests. We saw two tests that had the potential to go in front but only one did, leaving us in equal 5th going into the show jumping. I wasn't show jumping until 3.12 which gave me plenty of time to get nervous, although luckily I had the trot up at 11.30 to take my mind off it for a bit. The trot up was all fine until Coco very nearly managed to trip me over, but I did stay on my feet (luckily!) Then it was ready to get on for the show jumping. I worked him for a good 20 minutes on the flat first to get him really relaxed and stretched out and went up to the show jumping warm up with 8 horses in front of me. I got up there to see the show jumping causing carnage, especially the tricky line from the double at 4 on a short two strides followed by a short 3 strides to a vertical at 5 and then a long five strides to an oxer at six which was taking some riding. I knew Coco could do it, I just needed to give him the chance to! Our warm up was perfect and he did hit a fence outside which is not really like him and I think that made him really think where his feet were. We went in and he jumped the most lovely clear and again the best round I feel we have jumped together. The bigger the fences get, the better he jumps! There were only 9 show jumping clears out of 52 horses and this meant we climbed the leader board to 2nd place.. pressure on! See his Show Jumping HERE. At this point mum and I went to walk the course again to confirm the lines I was going to take and how I needed to ride the course to give us the best chance of making the time. Confident of what I needed to do, we had a lovely dinner in the rugby club with a friend who was also competing there and then got an early night, only after watching Ice Age Two, The Meltdown - perfect Cross Country Day Prep!!
So Cross Country Day was upon us, and it was only going to be our sixth round together. Our start time was 10.12. So we had everything ready and organised so I could get on at 9.20, give him 25 minutes on the flat and then mum could grease him before heading up to the Cross Country warm up area for 9.50 - giving us 20 minutes to jump, and check all was in order. At 9.15 I went to get my gloves off the table and they were nowhere in sight. How could this have happened - I had put everything ready! I blamed the dog - mum just thought I had put them somewhere stupid or dropped them. Eventually to stop me being late I had to put my other pair on which aren't nearly as nice. I started warming up and mum appeared... The dog had taken them, and buried them, in the middle of the haylage we had brought with us... Unimpressed! However at least I had them! The warm up went perfectly again and I was ready to go. He just ate up the course, making absolutely nothing of it. Our only iffy moment if you could call it that was when I had a slight loss of control down the hill before fence 5, but as soon as he saw the fence he set himself up and backed off. Which is a lovely feeling and has been a huge factor into why we have been able to get going as soon as we have!!
The result was a clear inside the time, meaning I was to finish no worse than 2nd! Not bad for only our sixth event together!! I did end up finishing 2nd, but I am delighted with that. I have to thank mum for driving me everywhere this year and Liz and Kari for buying me such an awesome horse to compete, I am so grateful for all they have done for me... Bring on next year!!
Another huge thank you has to go to Tracy Brown who has improved my flatwork riding beyond belief, and although there is still a long way to go, I have proved that I can ride a good enough dressage test to win events! She has also helped me with my jumping and I would not have had these results without her. My last big thank you has to go to my AMAZING sponsors, Simple System Ltd. They have been on hand to help us get the horses diet right all year and this has ensured the horses have been at their best to perform. And you can see from all my pictures how well all my horses look on their feed. I would recommended to everyone - it really does work and bring the results, it is also very convenient being able to target feed meaning the horses have enough energy for the work they need to do but without letting them put on weight. Also, Gill Maybury Chiropractor (Ie. Mum!) who I am very lucky to have on hand to keep the horses in one piece, and it is reassuring to know that if I feel the horse isn't quite right she is there to check them over and more often than not find the cause of the problem!
So that is it.. Eventing season is over. Coco is now having a short break and the others are keeping ticking over for a month or so before picking them up for a winter of dressage and show jumping. With the aim of jumping some Foxhunters on Coco and Newcomers on Lily and we will be ready to come out all guns blazing next season!
Thats all for now
Ps. To see all the pictures of Coco at Aldon, please visit the GALLERY page